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UBC responds to ‘Y.O.U.N.G.’ rape chant; Aboriginal ‘Pocahontas’ chant emerges

The University of British Columbia released its findings on Sauder's FROSH/rape chant, but just as another controversy emerges.

The University of British Columbia has announced what it calls “comprehensive measures” in response to a FROSH week chant endorsing rape and sexual violence”.

The chant – known as the Y.O.U.N.G. chant – was sung by first-year students from UBC’s Sauder School of Business and their week spirit leaders at the school’s Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS).

The chant went, “At UBC we like ’em young, Y is for your sister, O is for oh so tight, U is for underage, N is for no consent, G is for go to jail.”

“After serious consideration, we believe it is essential that the CUS and all FROSH leaders make tangible amends,” UBC president and vice-chancellor Stephen Toope said on Wednesday. “At the same time, the whole UBC community needs to embark upon deeper, transformative and lasting change that would make such chants entirely and obviously unacceptable in our community.”

Wednesday’s announcement came after the school conducted its own fact-funding inquiry into the chant, which found that Sauder’s FROSH week leaders – with the CUS – were not fully responsible for making new students take part in the chant, but that it was an ongoing tradition.

from the report:

“… there is no evidence CUS leaders planned and directed others to use the rape chant. However, the report concluded that this and other offensive chants were a CUS oral tradition, no CUS leader intervened to stop anyone from using offensive chants, and the vast majority of first-year students attending the CUS FROSH events would have been exposed to the rape chant. The report also concludes that some CUS FROSH activities were inappropriately sexualized.”

Toope said all 81 CUS FROSH leaders will have to complete community service, and the Commerce Undergraduate Society will also have to donate $250,000 to “fund a position to provide counselling on sexual abuse” (CBC).

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UBC FROSH ‘Pocahontas’ chant also offends

Prior to Wednesday’s presser, more ugly news around UBC’s FROSH chants surfaced, with students saying they heard and saw a chant that mocked Aboriginals.

Benjmain Israel, a computer science graduate and O-week manager, said he heard a chant of “white man, steal our land” from a group of undergraduate commerce students known as “Pocahontas”.

“The commerce FROSH this year was apparently Disney-themed, and so each group had its own name to go with the theme,” Israel told Vancouver’s 24 Hours newspaper.

“While they were doing the chant, they were sitting in a circle and banging on the ground rhythmically… They were imitating a Native circle with drums … My entire squad saw this.”

24 Hours said a third-year UBC student told the paper she also saw the chant.

“It’s not only racist, it’s also misogynist,” said Daniel Justice, who’s with UBC’s First Nations Studies department, referring to the mocking use of Pocahontas as the group’s name.

“On every level, this just gets worse and worse… When white people stole the land, they raped, butchered and dispossessed human beings … It’s profoundly disappointing and extremely unpleasant considering not only that this is a week of supposed reconciliation.”

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